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The Ecommerce Marketing Glossary

Look. We get it. There are a ton of marketing terms to keep track of. And a lot of information out there that can leave you feeling 🤯.

So we put together this guide of the marketing terms you really need to know to run and grow your ecommerce brand.

With real-life examples to inspire you.

Browse By Letter



A/B Test

A/B testing (also known as split testing) allows you to compare two variants (A and B) of pretty much anything to find out which option performs best.

A/B tests are often used on email subject lines, pop up offers, site design, product descriptions, headlines, ads, the sky's the limit here.

If half your traffic sees variation A and the other sees B, you’ll be able to make decisions based on data rather than just a gut feeling. Whichever version gets more engagement is your winner.

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Audience Targeting

Audience targeting allows you to separate consumers based on age, location, gender, average income, level of education, interests, interaction with your brand, etc.

Reaching the right audience means you’re not wasting valuable resources on people who are unlikely to convert.

You know those ads that you just can’t help but click on? That’s on purpose. You were targeted based on certain criteria that made a brand think you fit their ideal customer profile. And the audience targeting they use reflects that. That’s why you immediately think, “Wow. I need that!”

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Average Order Value

Average order value (AOV) is the amount customers spend per order, on average.

The formula to calculate it is really straightforward. Divide your revenue by the number of orders you’ve had in a given timeframe and you’ll get AOV.


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The CAN-SPAM Act applies to both email and text marketing. For starters, you have to get consent before contacting anyone through email or text.

So just because you have emails and phone numbers, doesn’t mean you can start sending messages. Your contacts have to opt in to receive any communication from your brand.

The CAN-SPAM Act is all about transparency and honesty in every interaction you have with subscribers.

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How many times have you seen language like this the first time you go to a new site?

Bold Body Cookies

A lot right? 

So what exactly are you agreeing to? What even is a cookie?

A cookie allows certain data to be passed from a website’s server to your browser. They’re often  used to collect information like your name, address, card information, items in your cart, browsing history, etc.

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McDonald’s is famous for asking customers, “Do you want fries with that?” at checkout. This is a classic cross-selling approach.

Fries are an add-on or cherry-on-top to many of their meal choices, so it’s a really easy way to increase the amount customers are spending.

And it can be a straightforward way for you to increase your  average order value by offering customers complementary products to whatever they’re already purchasing.

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Customer Retention

Customer retention is a focus on keeping your current customers around for the long haul by creating an experience and product that makes them want to keep coming back. 

Unlike customer acquisition, which is all about landing new customers, retention is driven by loyalty and repeat purchases.

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Direct To Consumer (DTC/D2C)

This is truly a ‘ta-may-toe’ ta-mah-toe’ situation. DTC/D2C are both shorthand for direct to consumer, which means products are sold to the end customer directly, bypassing any middlemen. 

This means you’re not selling through a distributor, retailer, or wholesaler. When a customer makes a purchase, it goes straight from you to the customer.

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With dropshipping, rather than handling and shipping products directly, a third-party is responsible for making it happen, which means business owners don’t have to manage any inventory.

When an order is placed, it is sent to the supplier, who then ships directly to the customer, eliminating the manual process and space restraints that most brands deal with when it comes to shipping their products.

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Exit Intent

Exit intent pop ups help you reduce cart abandonment and grow your email or text list.

You know those pop ups you see that try to get you to stick around to make or complete a purchase as you’re about to leave a site? Or at the very least, enter your email address before you go? 

Those are triggered by your cursor’s movement – so when you’re getting close to closing the window, you see a pop up. 

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Fulfillment is everything that happens between clicking that ‘purchase now’ button to when it arrives at your door.

Once you actually place an online order, a lot goes on behind the scenes. The brand you purchase from has to actually pull the product(s) from the shelf, package it up, create a label, and ship it out. You’ll likely get confirmation emails and tracking information along the way, too. 

And if you receive the order and aren’t happy with it, then what happens? You return it, right? Well that’s also part of the fulfillment process.

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Order Confirmation

After you place an order with your favorite ecommerce brands, you likely receive an order confirmation email.

It's how brands let you know they have, in fact, received your order.

Often, these emails include your order number so you can reference it if you need to reach out about anything related to your purchase, the item(s) you bought, your order total, billing and shipping information, and payment method.

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Pop Ups

We ❤️  pop ups at Privy. Pop ups are usually displayed in the middle of your site to grab the attention of your visitors. 

Pop ups are the heart of email marketing and text message marketing because their purpose is often to capture email addresses or phone numbers, which can then be used for sharing product information and updates down the line.

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Shopping Cart

Yep. It’s as simple as you think. A shopping cart is the online version of the cart you use at the grocery store.

Your cart will show you all the items you’ve added in one place. It will also usually show you the price of each individual item, the number of each item you currently have in your cart, and your subtotal. 

It’s pretty common that shipping and taxes are calculated further along in the checkout process.

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Spin To Win

Spin to win is a more engaging way to grow your email list than many traditional pop ups.

Visitors to your site are asked to enter their email address for a chance to spin the wheel to win one of 12 prizes.

Popular offers for the slices include free shipping, different percentages off, and a free gift with purchase. But of course they’re not all winners – that’s the fun of it! So there are often slices with language like ‘So close!’ ‘No luck today.’ and ‘Bummer!’

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Subject Line

tThe subject line is what shows up next to the sender’s name in your inbox. And it’s super important because it’s what gets your subscribers to open your emails and read your messages.

Because let’s face it. Your subscribers are judging a book by the cover in this case. So you need to hook them with something they care about.

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Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is meant to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing.

Today, telemarketing includes phone calls, texts, and faxes. And the TCPA is intended to empower consumers to decide which messages they want to receive and which they want to opt out of.

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An upsell encourages your customers to purchase an upgraded, or more expensive version of a product.

Many brands leverage upselling as a way to increase their average order value

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